A dark house.
An isolated island.
and even stranger
visions . . .
Jack is spending the summer on a private island far from modern conveniences. No Wi-Fi, no cell service, no one else on the island but a housekeeper and the two very peculiar children in his care. The first time Jack sees the huge black mansion atop a windswept hill, he senses something cold, something more sinister than even the dark house itself.
Soon, he feels terribly isolated and alone. Yet he is not alone. The house has visitors—peering in the windows, staring from across the shore. But why doesn't anyone else see them . . . and what do they want? As secrets are revealed and darker truths surface, Jack desperately struggles to maintain a grip on reality. He knows what he sees, and he isn't crazy. . . . Or is he?
From nationally acclaimed author Francine Prose comes a mind-bending story that will leave you realizing how subtle the lines that separate reality, imagination, and insanity really are.
This alluring epistolary retelling of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw traces a contemporary babysitter's supernatural encounters. The protagonist, Jack, is hoping to earn some money for college when he agrees to care for orphan siblings on Crackstone's Landing, a remote island without phones, Internet, or TV. Upon settling into the "Dark House" to care for Miles and Flora (who are like "iniature, polite grown-ups"), Jack begins to have misgivings about the job. Still, things don't begin to go awry until Jack is spooked by two ethereal figures, perhaps the ghosts of the children's former governess and her beau. Jack's growing anxiety, physical decline, and obsession with the female ghost are heavily foreshadowed and clearly expressed through his letters to his girlfriend (which make up the bulk of the narrative), yet it is left for readers to determine how much of what Jack undergoes is real. Remaining true to the ambiguous nature of the original, Prose (Touch) masterfully builds suspense. Like Adele Griffin's Tighter (2011), this spin on the classic tale is an enticing blend of gothic elements and psychological complexities. Ages 13 up.